Rob Watson

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About Rob

Rob Watson
Dr Rob Watson is a Principal Lecturer in the Leicester Media School, De Montfort University. His main teaching and research is in Community Media, Social Media Production, Digital Media and Radio Production. Rob's research is focused on Community and Collaborative Media, and the way that community media helps volunteers and participants realise their voice in their community.

Rob hosts and runs his own blog Rob Watson Media, which he uses to share information about his teaching and research work, as well as sharing random observations about the challenges of contemporary culture.

Rob leads a number of modules delivered in the Leicester Media School, including TECH1002 Social Media Innovation, TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media, TECH2503 Community Media Production and TECH3022 Social Media Practice.

Rob is a fan of The Pet Shop Boys, Doctor Who and Star Wars. Rob is currently obsessed with LOL Cats, learning to take Selfies and tea, which he drinks in copious amounts at various coffee shops around Leicester. Rob enjoys rambling in the Peak District, swimming, weight training, and can occasionally be found wandering aimlessly on his bike around Leicestershire.

Rob's favourite authors are J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Haruki Murakami, Umberto Eco, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and Robert Bolano. Rob's music preferences include Roxy Music, Brian Eno, David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, The Beatles, Michael Nyman, Wagner, and quite a bit of various other stuff like Ride and Yo La Tengo.


GH6.13 Gateway House Leicester Media School Faculty of Technology De Montfort University The Gateway Leicester LE1 9BH

Office Hours (Term Time)

  • Monday 11.00 - 11.40
  • Tuesday 15.00 - 15.40

Past Experience

Rob has been teaching at De Montfort University since 1998, following the successful completion of his Master of Arts Degree in Media Studies. While Rob's background is in media studies he has primarily worked in the Faculty of Technology, as a member of the Media Technology team, combining media engineering with media production. This has meant at various times that Rob has worked closely with the BBC, Confetti Studios, The Radio Academy, Skillset, and The Leicester Media Network.

Training Documents

DIY-DMU Development Training

Course Leadership

  • BSc Media Technology (2000-5)
  • BSc Radio Production (2005-12)

Course Validations

  • BA Communication Arts - contributor (2015)
  • FDsC Community Media Management - lead (2009)
  • BSc Radio Production - lead (2005)
  • BSc Media Production - lead (2002)


  • Creative Technology Studios Funding Application, Build & Development (2007)
  • DemonFM Development – lead in application to become licensed Community Radio Station (2007)

Teaching & Learning Experience

  • TECH2503 Community Media Production (2016 - Present)
  • TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media (2015 - Present)
  • TECH3022 Social Media Practice (2012 – Present)
  • TECH1002 Social Media Innovation (2012 – Present)
  • TECH3026 Creative Media Entrepreneurship (2012 - 2015)
  • TECH1008 Introduction to Radio Production (2008 – 2012)
  • TECH1020 Studio Practice for Radio (2008 – 2012)
  • TECH2005 Digital Radio Production & Audio Technology (2008 – 2012)
  • TECH3013 Advanced Radio Production (2008 – 2012)
  • TECH3005 Integrated Sound & Media (2006 – 2008)
  • TECH3002 Questioning Technology (2006 – 2008)
  • MULT3016 Issues in Virtual Communities (2001 – 2004)
  • MULT3017 Questioning Technology (2001 – 2004)
  • MULT3019 Digital Radio Production (2001 – 2004)
  • MULT3015 Decoding Digital Culture (1999 – 2001)
  • MULT3014 Case Studies in Digital Culture (1999 – 2001)
  • MEDS1006 Introduction to Cultural Studies (1997 – 1998)
  • MEDS3027 Men, Masculinity and the Media (1997 – 1998)
Rob with BA Communication Arts Students October 2015

Rob has extensive and wide ranging experience of curriculum development, in which he has primarily focused on the leadership and delivery of taught undergraduate modules and the supervision of projects. Rob's focus has been the development of innovative, progressive and creative forms of learning that combine technology with creative media practice. Rob is presently the module leader for:

TECH1002 Social Media Innovation – Rob has developed lectures, workshops and assessment activities to support learners understanding of digital mediation, network culture, digital identity and collaborative media. This year Rob introduced learners to the DMU Commons Wiki as an integral part of the module activities, and in order to promote and test collaborative learning practices and skills. Rob has further developed the use of blogs as part of the role of a social media practitioner that learners are exploring. Rob has strengthened the approach to the examination taken as part of the module assessment, and has refocussed the expected requirements of learners to undertake associated academic reading.

TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media - Rob has designed and introduced a new area of study within the Leicester Media School which is being developed as part of the BA Communication Arts programme. Community Media is a distinctive approach to media practices that are focussed on grass-roots media, alternative media and DIY media. Rob has introduced the first of a strand of modules that will enable learners to practice media production within the context of civic and social responsibility.

TECH2503 Community Media Production - Rob has introduced and developed community media as an area of study within the curriculum of the BA Communication Arts course in the Leicester Media School. This module extends the concepts and practices that are covered in the first year community media module, and builds on them by introducing the concept of social and community development. This entails both the critical study of the debates and concepts associated with community media, while offering learners the challenge of putting together and developing their own community media group.

TECH3022 Social Media Practice – Rob has introduced and developed a focus on digital sociology in this module that examines the capabilities of digital activist and digital literacies that are required by users of social media to thrive online. This draws on ideas and concepts associated with digital sociology (Netnogtaphy) and Digital Literacies. Rob has developed an innovative case study that challenges learners to question how social media can be used to raise awareness about processed food, sugar and carbohydrate rich diets, and the consequences of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Learners on this module participate in a social media project that supports a social action campaign directed through the No Quarter Given site. Learners work collaboratively using the DMU Commons Wiki and other social media tools.

Rob also contributes to:

TECH3010 Technology Project Supervision – learners undertake an individual project that is originated, designed and produced by each learner. Rob's has experience of supervising many different types of projects, from radio production to social media, from audio technology to video production.


Rob completed his PhD in February 2018, and was registered with The Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University. Rob's supervisors are Prof Bernd Stahl and Dr Andrew Clay.

The aim of Rob's research project was to question the role and the function of community media as a lived social experience, and thereby noting the difference that participation in community media activities makes to the agents and activists engaged in community media production practices and organisations. This has been based on fieldwork that Rob undertook in Leicester during the period October 2012 to September 2014.

Rob has maintained a blog about his work in community media, and a set of podcasts known as Community Media World Podcasts.

In doing this work Rob wanted to find out if it is possible to understand the individual stances and perspectives that are experienced by the people who volunteer for, and engage with, community media in Leicester.

Rob paid specific attention to asking:

What can be gained by these volunteers and participants, particularly as they seek to use and incorporate forms of alternative and community media in the routines of their community lives?

This meant questioning how well-suited and adequate the forms of community media practice and organisation were to the many and varied tasks that they undertook, and the extent that the established models of engagement and participation that are characteristic of community media practice were viable in terms of community media studies theory and debate?

In addition, Rob also sought to understand to what extent community media was disruptive to forms of mainstream media organisation, and to what extent community media participants were able to resist the prevailing regulated orthodoxies and forms of professional organisation that dominate the contemporary media cultural economy?

Finally, Rob wanted to find out to what extent community media could provide a symbolic site of interpersonal negotiation that allowed for, and facilitated, expressions of identity, community and social accomplishment?

The general questions that Rob asked, therefore, were:

  • To what extent is it possible to make sense of the collaborative knowledge practices that take place in community media groups?
  • To what extent is it possible to observe how participants in the communities of interest, identity and practice are able to understand their role, their identity and their accomplishments?
  • To what extent is it possible to understand how these communities of interest and correspondence, reflexively understand themselves as either a universitas or as a societas, or a blending of both?

Rob is aiming to submit his research in January 2016.

Personal Experience

External Examining

  • BA Radio Production - University of Bedfordshire (2018 - Present).
  • BA Digital Media - Canerbury Christ Church University (2016- Present).
  • BSc Media Production - Liverpool John Moores University (2012 - 2016).
  • BA Media Production - University of Winchester (2008 - 2012).

School Governor

  • Chair of Governors, Sherard Primary School, Melton Mowbray (2007 - 2011)
  • Sherard Primary School, Melton Mowbray (2006 - 2011)
  • Swallowdale Primary School, Melton Mowbray (2008 - 2009)
  • King Edward VII Secondary School, Melton Mowbray (2008 - 2009)

Community Media Association Council


  • Station Director (2008 - 2012)

Community Media Activities

  • Director - East midlands Community Media Network (2017- Present).
  • Council Member - Community Media Association(2014 - Present)
  • Advisor – Leicester People’s Photographic Gallery (2013 - 2014)
  • Founding Member – Leicester Media Network (2011)
  • Organising Group - East Midlands Radio Academy (2006 - 2012)
  • Life Long Learning Network Creative Industries Curriculum Development Committee (2008 - 2010)
  • South Leicester College Media Advisory Group (2007 - 2010)
  • Skillset Education Advisory Group (2006 - 2009)

Papers, Publications & Events

  • Community Media Association Conference (Host), De Montfort University (2014)
  • Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery Network Visits Report, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2013)
  • Allow for Uncertainty - Indeterminacy & Radio – Radio Research 2013, University of Sunderland (2013)
  • De Montfort University PL Review – Building Capability for Academic Leadership (2011)
  • DemonFM & Social Media, Transforming Audiences 3, University of Westminster (2011)
  • Media Literacy – What’s the Difference that Makes the Difference? University of Leeds (2011)
  • DemonFM – A Sustainable Community, CMA & the Arts (2011)
  • DemonFM & Social Media, TEL Symposium, DMU (2010)
  • DemonFM & Social Media, British Computing Society (2010)
  • Developing a Community Media Organisation, CMA Annual Conference (2009)
  • DemonFM Community Radio Station Launch (2009)
  • Audiotheque Website Launch with BBC Radio Drama (2009)
  • DemonFM Development Day (2009)
  • Media in Education – Symposium, with South Leicester College (2008)
  • Audiotheque Workshop Day with BBC Radio Drama (2008)
  • BaseX FM – RSL Five Day Broadcast (2008)
  • Radio is Cool – RSL Five Day Broadcast (2008)
  • FussFM – RSL Two Week Broadcast (2008)
  • RewindFM – RSL Five Day Broadcast (2008)
  • UKITA Symposium (2008)
  • De Montfort University and the Creative Industries Report (2006)
  • Radio Summer School (2006)
  • Radio Summer School (2005)
  • Radio Masterclass (2002)
  • Cultural Studies & Value - Meccsa Annual Conference, Sheffield (1999)